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Rainbow House Royalty: The Empress of Vancouver

April 14 - Movie screening and Q+A with the Director

Buy Tickets on the Sid Williams Website

In partnership with the Pride Society Comox Valley and the Sid Williams Theatre Society, Dawn to Dawn is pleased to present the Rainbow House Royalty Weekend Showcase.

A cinematic and intimate collision of drag, queer history, and performance art, a musical and genre-bending irreverent documentary that follows trans icon Oliv Howe as she prepares for the 40th anniversary of her coronation.

Oliv Howe always looks absolutely fabulous. After all, she is the 10th Empress of the Vancouver Dogwood Monarchist Society, a crown bestowed on her back in 1981. In Oliv’s story of self-actualization (relayed with wit and compassion) we are transported back to Vancouver’s drag subculture back in the before times, and to the deep-seated ignorance and naked homophobia faced by the queer community. This is fascinating social history, but it’s also a celebration of lives lived out loud and proud.

A Q&A with the director will follow the screening.

Buy Tickets on the Sid Williams Website

With a wealth of well-shot footage, archival material, and pop art animations, Vancouver director Dave Rodden-Shortt creates an affectionate portrait of an icon of Vancouver’s LGTBQ+ community, long-time drag artist and activist Oliv Howe. The film recounts how the now 69-year-old Howe made a splash in the 80s gay scene, trading a dash of punk attitude and performance art for the title of 10th Empress of Vancouver by the Dogwood Monarchist Society.

While Oliv-focused, Rodden-Shortt contextualizes Howe in time, delivering a great history of the Vancouver community and the struggles and challenges overcome.
Never content to allow the even archival black and white photos to be stilted but functional, the film is notable stylistically for its constant additions of colour and movement. Those with a passing interest in the world the film celebrates will be sure to find many points of entry and education, especially in Oliv’s “real talk” approach to life. To those with an investment in drag and queer history, this is practically required viewing.

– Victoria Film Festival

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